(UPI) — Mexico’s Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, or SRE, said it has opened “defender centers” in Mexico’s 50 U.S. consulates to offer legal assistance to immigrants amid President Donald Trump’s immigration orders.
“The Defender Centers are specifically designed to provide consular assistance as well as legal representation to all Mexican migrants who require support in the American union,” the SRE said in a statement.
The defender centers were first announced by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration a week after Trump won the U.S. presidential election in November “to protect the Mexican community” from abuse and fraud in the United States.
“Through these bodies, the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs provides an exclusive space for Mexicans in need of consular assistance to receive information, guidance and direct legal advice, with the support of a strong network of local allies, including lawyers and organizations specialized in the defense of the rights of migrants,” the SRE said Saturday.
On Jan. 25, Trump signed an executive order to strip federal grant money from so-called “sanctuary cities” — U.S. municipalities that protect undocumented immigrants from federal prosecution. Trump’s order also seeks to hire 10,000 additional immigration officers, to build more detention centers and to prioritize undocumented immigrants for deportation.
Mexico said it will also attempt to increase efforts to help Mexican civilians receive U.S. documentation status by increasing consular registrations and by speeding up passport and birth certificate deliveries. The SRE said consulate hours will be extended.
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray was in New York on Saturday to announce the opening of the defender centers and to issue the first birth certificate to a native-born Mexican who migrated to the United States who was not officially registered in Mexico.
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